Rowing for Weight Loss: The Complete Guide 

Losing weight is hard. You’ve probably already tried a million different things with mixed results. 

It’s easy to feel like you’re the only person struggling to lose weight when everyone seems to be talking about their amazing transformation. 

Rowing for weight loss can help without having to set foot in a gym. Read below how you can achieve your goals.

Is Rowing Good for Weight Loss?

There’s no rowing away from the fact that weight loss requires shedding pounds. But if you’re looking to get fit and slim down, there’s no better way to do it than by rowing. 

Rowing is an excellent workout for weight loss because it burns a ton of calories. In fact, it’s been shown to torch more calories than running, cycling, or swimming. And not only does rowing burn calories, but it also helps tone your arms, legs, and core. 

How to Burn More Calories on an Indoor Rower?

losing weight rowing

For anyone who’s ever worked out on an indoor rower, you know that it’s a great workout. But did you know that there are ways to make it even better? 

  • Warm up properly before starting your rowing session. A good warm-up will help you avoid injuries and row more powerfully. 
  • Try to maintain a high stroke rate throughout your workout. The more strokes you take per minute, the more calories you’ll burn. 
  • Maintain a correct posture. A proper posture allows you to use your muscles to their full potential. 
  • Cool down when you’re finished. Stretching will help your muscles recover and be ready for your next workout. 

Does an Indoor Rower Burn Belly Fat?

The indoor rower is a secret weapon for burning belly fat for many of us. Rowing provides a great cardio workout and targets the abdominal muscles, making it an ideal exercise for people looking to slim down their waistline

Let’s see why:

Overall Fat Burning Machine

Indoor rowing burns overall body fat. When you row, your muscles work together to generate power. This power requires energy, which is provided by burning calories. And since fat is a high-calorie fuel source, indoor rowing can help burn significant body fat. 

However, you need the right machine for the job.

  • Air rowers are great for building endurance and increasing your heart rate.
  • Magnetic rowers are better for working on your speed and technique. 
  • Flywheel rowers offer a more challenging workout that can help tone your muscles and improve your calorie-burning potential. 

So, if you’re looking to burn fat, the best type of indoor rowing machine for you will ultimately depend on your own fitness goals and preferences.

Accelerated Metabolism

Rowing is an excellent way to burn calories and build muscle, and it’s also surprisingly effective at boosting your metabolism. 

When you row, your body must work hard to generate each stroke, which requires a lot of energy. This increase in energy expenditure leads to an uptick in your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories even after you’ve finished your workout. 

In addition, rowing is an excellent way to build muscle

Muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, so the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. That means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re just sitting around, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight. 

Sculpted Core Muscles

Rowing is often considered a leg-intensive exercise, but it works your whole body – including your core. Indoor rowing is perfect for sculpting your core muscles, which are the muscles around your trunk and pelvis. 

To get the most benefit from indoor rowing, focus on using your core muscles to help drive each stroke.

This will help you work all of the muscles in your midsection, including your abs, obliques, and lower back. In addition to getting a strong and toned abdomen, using your core muscles during indoor rowing can also help improve your balance and posture. 

How Can You Burn More Belly Fat on an Indoor Rower?

burn belly fat on a rower

You can do a few different things to maximize your fat-burning potential on an indoor rower. 

  • Focus on using your entire body – not just your legs – to generate each stroke. This will help you work more muscles and burn more calories. 
  • Try interval training on your indoor rower. Interval training is a type of workout that alternates between high and low-intensity periods. This workout is especially effective for burning fat because it pushes your body harder than you would during a traditional, steady-state cardio workout. 
  • Mix up your indoor rowing workouts. Incorporating different exercises can challenge your body in new ways and keep your routine interesting. 
  • Contract your abs. As you exhale, pull your abs towards your spine and think about trying to touch your belly button to your lower back. This position will engage your core muscles, which will, in turn, help you burn more belly fat.
  • Focus on the right heart rate. To burn more belly fat, you need to reach the fat-burning zone, where your body uses more fat for fuel than carbs. This heart-rate zone falls between 80 and 90 percent of the maximum heart rate for most people. To find your fat-burning zone, subtract your age from 220. So if you’re 30 years old, your fat-burning zone would be between 152 and 171 beats per minute. 
  • Warm up before rowing, and cool down when you’re finished. A proper warm-up will help prepare your body for exercise and prevent injury, while a cool-down will help you recover faster. 

How to Lose Weight on an Indoor Rower

If you want to reach your weight loss goals faster, follow the tips below:

Increase Speed

Rowing is a great cardio workout; as you increase your speed, you’ll also be burning more calories. Moderate rowing can burn up to 490 calories/hour, while vigorous rowing burns 595 calories/hour if you’re 155 lbs.

So if you’re looking to lose weight, cranking up the speed on the indoor rower is a great way to start.

Increase Resistance

When you row with more resistance, your body must work harder to move the handle through the water. Therefore, you’ll burn more calories, leading to weight loss. 

In addition, rowing with more resistance will tone your muscles, making you look and feel more toned and fit. 


HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is an exercise that alternates between periods of intense effort and active recovery. HIIT can be incredibly effective in burning calories and shedding unwanted pounds when done on an indoor rower. In fact, research has shown that HIIT can help you burn body fat five times faster than traditional cardio workouts.  

Don’t Miss Rest Days

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential to exercise regularly. But that doesn’t mean that you should exercise every single day. 

Remember: Resting is just as crucial as exercising for weight loss. 

When you rest, your body has a chance to recover from your workouts and repair any muscle damage that may have occurred. This is essential for both your physical and mental health. 

Besides, exercising without rest makes your cortisol levels skyrocket, and that’s very damaging in the long run. Excess cortisol slows down your weight loss, leading to weight gain. In contrast, long-term high cortisol has other adverse health effects, such as moodiness, anxiety, endocrine issues, and even heart problems.

Eat Healthily

Last but not least, you need to eat a healthy diet if you want to lose weight. 

  • Eating healthy foods will fuel your workouts and ensure your body has the necessary nutrients. 
  • You will control your hunger levels, making you less likely to overeat. And when you do eat, you’ll be less likely to crave unhealthy foods. 
  • Healthy foods also help with weight management. It’s much easier to gain unwanted pounds when you’re eating saturated fats and unhealthy sugars. But it’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight when you’re eating healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. 

How Long on a Rower to Lose Weight?

weight loss rowing machine

Now that you know how to lose weight on an indoor rower, you might be wondering how long you need to exercise to see results. The good news is that you don’t have to exercise for hours to see results. 

In fact, research has shown that just 30 minutes of exercise is enough to help with weight loss. 

You might think the more you exercise, the more weight you’ll lose. 

That can be true for a few weeks. But, punishing your body with hours of exercise each day isn’t sustainable in the long term, and it can lead to weight gain. 

Here’s why:

When you exercise for hours on end, your body starts to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body to store fat. So, if you’re constantly exercising and your cortisol levels are high, you’re more likely to gain weight.

Plus, you’ll be more likely to increase your portion sizes.

Remember that even a measly slice of bread or a banana adds 100 calories to your overall calories.

Can Indoor Rowing for Ten Minutes per Day Help with Weight Loss?

The short answer is yes. 

While you might not lose heaps of weight in such a short period, every bit counts. And if you can commit to rowing for ten minutes per day, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your weight loss goals.

Plus, rowing for ten minutes daily is a great way to get started with an exercise routine. It’s easy to commit to ten minutes, and you can always increase your time as you get more comfortable with the exercise. 

Indoor Rowing Benefits for Weight Loss

Rowing is an excellent exercise for weight loss because: 

  • It’s a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints. 
  • It’s also a perfect cardio workout, essential for burning calories and losing weight. 
  • It improves your balance and coordination. And, as you get better at rowing, you’ll be able to row faster and with more power. This means that you’ll be able to burn even more calories, which will help you lose weight more quickly. 

And, as a bonus, rowing is a great way to relieve stress. When you’re feeling stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body to store fat. So if you can find ways to reduce your stress levels, you’ll be more likely to lose weight. 

Indoor Rowing 30 Minutes a Day Weight Loss

rowing machine workout for weight loss

Here’s what happens if you work out on the rowing machine for 30 minutes a day:

  • You will lose weight. Rowing is an excellent cardio workout, and 30 minutes of exercise is enough to help with weight loss. 
  • You will improve your cardiovascular health. Rowing is an excellent cardio workout, and 30 minutes of exercise is enough to help improve your cardiovascular health. 
  • You will tone your muscles. Rowing works multiple muscle groups at once, so you’ll be able to tone your muscles as you lose weight. 
  • You will reduce your stress levels. Rowing is a great way to relieve stress; declining stress levels can facilitate weight loss. 
  • You will improve your balance and coordination. Rowing also improves your balance and coordination, which can help you to lose weight. 

30-Day Indoor Rowing Weight Loss Results

Here’s what happens to your body after using the rowing machine for a whole month:

After a month of regular rowing, you can expect significant changes in your body. 

  • Your arms will become more toned and defined from all the pulling motions. 
  • Your back and shoulders will also become stronger from supporting your body weight as you row. 
  • Your cardiovascular fitness will improve as your heart and lungs work harder to keep up with the oxygen demand. As a result, you’ll be able to row for longer periods without getting winded. 
  • You will notice a change in your waistline as you shed some extra pounds. 
  • You may also notice a change in mindset and mental outlook. Rowing can be a great way to relieve stress, and the endorphins released during exercise can help to improve your mood. 
  • You may find that you have more energy and motivation to stick with your healthy lifestyle after a month of regular rowing. 
  • One month of rowing increases overall endurance. Thus, you will manage your daily activities better, including work and exercise. 

In short, rowing for 30 minutes a day can help you lose weight, tone your muscles, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce stress levels. 

Rowing Workouts for Weight Loss

If you want a rowing workout to lose weight, follow the tips below:

  • Choose a workout that is at least 30 minutes long. Rowing is an excellent cardio workout, and you need to do at least 30 minutes of exercise to see results. 
  • Focus on your form. Make sure that you are using proper form while rowing. This will help you get the most out of your workout and avoid injury. 
  • Cool down and stretch afterwards. Cool down and stretch after your workout to help your muscles recover and prevent injury. 

Rowing Workout for Cardiovascular Health

  • Warm up for 5 minutes by rowing at a light intensity. 
  • Row at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes. 
  • Cool down for 5 minutes by rowing at a light intensity. 
  • Stretch for 10 minutes. 

HIIT Rowing Workout to Burn Fat

  • Warm up for 5 minutes by rowing at a light intensity. 
  • Row at a high intensity for 1 minute. 
  • Rest for 1 minute. 
  • Repeat this cycle for 20 minutes. 
  • Cool down for 5 minutes by rowing at a light intensity. 
  • Stretch for 10 minutes. 

Rowing Workout to Increase Your Muscle Mass

  • Warm up for 5 minutes by rowing at a light intensity. 
  • Row at a moderate intensity for 10 minutes. 
  • Do a 1-minute all-out sprint. 
  • Rest for 2 minutes. 
  • Repeat this cycle for 30 minutes. 
  • Cool down for 5 minutes by rowing at a light intensity. 

Your Weekly Rowing Plan

  • Monday: HIIT rowing workout 
  • Tuesday: Rest day  
  • Wednesday: Rowing workout to increase muscle mass
  • Thursday: Rest day
  • Friday: Rowing workout to build cardiovascular health 
  • Saturday: Rest or optional low-intensity rowing if you’re not feeling sore
  • Sunday: Rest day

Wrap Up

Rowing is a great way to lose weight, tone your muscles, and improve cardiovascular health. By following the tips above, you can create a rowing workout to reach all your fitness goals. 

So what are you waiting for? Get rowing!

Mary D. Brown

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